Pitmaster Jones brines these ribs for 20 hours, applies BBQ Spice Rub, and smokes them to juicy perfection. Finish them with a glaze of Sweet BBQ Pit Sauce, and you've got a pretty good idea of what lucky Carolinians enjoy all summer long.
Brine: In a 1-gallon container, combine water, salt, and sugar. Seal and shake to dissolve salt and sugar, about 30 seconds. Lay ribs in large container; add the brine, making sure the ribs are fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate 15–24 hours, optimally 20 hours.
Smoke ribs: Light smoker and heat on 250 degrees F. (For smokier ribs with a pronounced internal "smoke ring," Pitmaster Jones suggest adding wood chips on top of the charcoal during the first hour of cooking.) Remove brined ribs and place on a flat surface. Par dry with paper towels on both sides. Sprinkle BBQ Spice Rub all over ribs on both sides; use your hands to work the rub in, making sure all of the ribs are covered.
Place ribs bone-side down onto the grill. Cover and cook undisturbed for 3-3 1/2 hours. Check smoker temperature hourly; add charcoal and use vents as needed to maintain a temperature of 250 degrees F through the duration of cooking.
Stack 2 large sheets of aluminum foil on a flat work surface. After 3-3 1/3 hours, remove ribs from smoker and place on foil, bone-side down. Spread a small amount of Sweet BBQ Pit Sauce evenly over the meat. Wrap and place back in the grill, bone-side down, 30 minutes.
Remove ribs from smoker and remove foil. Place back on smoker grates and cook another 10-15 minutes. Remove, cut into individual ribs, and serve.
BBQ Spice Rub:
BBQ Spice Rub: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix well to break up any lumps. (Optional: Use a food processor.) Makes about 4 cups. It will keep in a covered container at room temperature for several months. Before each use, stir the rub or shake well to re-distribute all the ingredients evenly.
Sweet BBQ Pit Sauce
Sweet BBQ Pit Sauce, part 1: In a saucepan, combine the dry ingredients and mix well to break up any lumps. Add ketchup, melted butter, water, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer over low heat. Continue to simmer, stirring the entire time until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. (Keeping the heat low helps prevent the butter from separating and the sugar from burning.)
Sweet BBQ Pit Sauce, part 2: Sauce is done when it thinly coats a spoon and has reduced by about ⅓. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Makes about 3 cups of Sweet BBQ Pit Sauce. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. (It will keep for months, thanks to the vinegar.)